Allow impartial probe on drug war, EU urges Philippines

EU parlament

Manila, Philippines – Shortly after President Rodrigo Duterte announced the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), the European Union (EU) has called on the Philippine government to allow an impartial and transparent probe on the Duterte administration’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs.

In a statement sent to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday (Geneva time), the EU expressed “deep concern” about the high number of killings linked to the deadly crackdown believed to have claimed thousands of lives since it was launched in July 2016.

The powerful bloc urged the Philippines to comply with due process and domestic and international human rights laws.

“The EU remains deeply concerned about the high number of killings associated with the campaign against illegal drugs in the Philippines,” the statement read.

“The EU emphasizes the importance of carrying out the campaign with a focus on public health and in full compliance with due process, national law and international human rights law. It is imperative to conduct prompt, effective, impartial and transparent investigations of all cases of death leading to prosecution in all cases of unlawful killing,” it added.

The statement came weeks after European Commission Director General for International Cooperation and Development (Devco) Stefano Manservisi said that the EU would continue to fund development projects in the Philippines despite some pushback in the two parties’ relations under the Duterte administration.

Manservisi said that the EU would continue to raise the concern on human rights in different forums, as respect for human rights continues to be one of the bloc’s key priorities.

He said that the EU has earmarked 170 million Euros (P10.8 billion) for renewable energy and Mindanao development projects.

Duterte on Wednesday announced the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC, noting that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over him and the supposed killings in the drug war.

He also referred to the “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” against him and his administration by United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard and UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Zaid Ra’ad al-Hussein.

The President claimed that his right to due process was violated after ICC special prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced to the public the court’s preliminary examination over his anti-illegal drug campaign.

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